About 300 WA police will become the first in the country to be deployed with Naloxone, a drug used to provide emergency first aid to people suffering from an opioid overdose.
The 12-month trial program will start on Thursday and comes after a recent surge in drug overdoses and deaths in WA.
Naloxone is usually carried only by those involved in emergency health and crisis care or by drug treatment services.
Police Minister Paul Papalia said there was always a risk police officers could be exposed to illicit toxic opioids in the course of their day-to-day work.
“The safety and welfare of all police officers is of paramount importance, and taking part in this trial is another way in which we can better protect officers in the work they do protecting the community,” he said.
“As first responders, it may also provide an opportunity for officers to save the life of someone who has overdosed, before medical help arrives.”
Police Assistant Commissioner Brad Royce said deploying Naloxone with police was a logical decision given the risks officers faced and the role they played in responding to incidents.
“In many cases, police officers are the first on the scene in response to welfare checks or other tasks that result in a drug-impaired person being located, sometimes unconscious, and will likely be best placed to provide the early medical intervention,” he said.
“There have been several cases in overseas jurisdictions where lives have been saved due to police officers being equipped with and trained to use Naloxone.”
The trial locations across WA have been based on several drug-related indicators including health data and the results of wastewater analysis.